23 January 2011

Cloaked Bigotry

It has been a while since Erick, Kobe and I enjoyed a lazy breakfast at the cafeteria. As it happened, Erick’s car happened to be passing by as Kobe and I walked across the road from the Diokno this morning. He said he would join us, but would just be having coffee.

As can be expected whenever the two gentlemen volt in, talk quickly swung around to basketball. Now, everyone knows my interest in the game is, at best, cursory.

Whenever the hoop talk begins, I exercise my right to choose from among the following options: a) totally ignore the blabbering fools and turn my attention to something of greater importance to life; b) make an attempt at looking interested and small-talk my way through the discussion; or c) steer the discussion towards something of common interest to all three of us.

This morning, option a) was the obvious choice; I was, after all having breakfast. But wait! The gentlemen were animatedly discussing the ongoing employees’ basketball tournament, a project I personally pushed to get started. Although I continued to eat, I was fast being drawn to option b).

What I was hearing were the resolutions arrived at after a captains’ meeting called to deal with the antics of one of the participating teams. Apparently, this team had been taking the tournament – called the Unity Cup – a little too seriously. Referees’ decisions were being protested vehemently and fouls committed sometimes with hurtful consequences.

And not at all what the organizers had in mind when the tournament was still in its planning stage… In fact, I had already heard someone somewhere refer to the tournament – tongue-in-cheek – as the Disunity Cup.

But let us not dwell on the unsavory…

Because I was exercising option b), in between spoonfuls, I asked Kobe who our team would be playing against tomorrow. “SMSS Sir!” was Kobe’s reply. That would be the janitorial concession whose services the school has employed.

“Malinis maglarô ang mga ‘yun, Sir!” Kobe added. Had he said this to me late in the afternoon, when I am usually at my wit’s end, I would have missed the pun altogether. Kobe also wore on his face this tell-tale sign that there was a joke somewhere.

In fact, I’ve been hearing these word plays since the tournament started. Although the security agency’s team is made up of players taller than the other teams, they have no chance of winning the tournament, someone pronounced. “Puro guardia kasi…” was the concluding quip.

Somebody had a dissenting opinion. On the contrary, this somebody said, it could be difficult to play against them. If you tried to drive past them with the ball, they could stop you by asking you to present your ID…

Of course, three years ago, when the tournament was first launched, the security agency at the time also participated. Its players wore a bright blue uniform with the team’s moniker sewn in big white letters on the front of their shirts: JAGUAR. Have you latched on to the joke yet?

Back to the current tournament, and the canteen concession’s team… “Mahirap kalaban ang mga ‘yan, Sir!” I was told. “Lutô lagî ang game…”

There has got to be some sort of cloaked bigotry in the middle of all these; but one also cannot fail to be amused by the humor. Most of the games, in fact, are played with no intention other than to have a couple of hours’ fun with the added bonus of a vigorous workout.

This is not a very hard conclusion to arrive at, since none of the players will make it to next year’s PBA draft, anyway. Obvious ba? I am, in fact, seriously thinking of scratching the Best Muse competition next year and replacing it instead with Palakihan ng Tiyan

Or, Best Moniker…!!! Take, for example, the Lasallian formation team’s nickname: AMEN! How about that for humor and imagination….???

But let us not look at the team standings, please…

[This story was first published on Facebook on 12 August 2009. Photos from the DLSL Web Site.]

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